I walked into our new home yesterday for a pre-closing walkthrough. An empty house always makes me a little sad. Memories made are over. New ones not yet started. Stark and empty walls begging for pictures stared at me as I surveyed each room. Empty kitchen cupboards reminded me that my mismatched glasses will await Little People dropping them on yet another tiled floor. Dog mess in the back yard made me picture Wallace darting around there once a fenced is installed. A large empty room across from what will become our bedroom is the place Benny’s mom will soon call home. White walls in Julia’s future room will be painted dark colors to welcome her space theme. The twin beds Jesse and Joey used 25 years ago will house new mattresses (finally!) for Jake and friends he’ll bring home from college to our new address.
We measured to add some trim in our bedroom; little ways to make it feel like “us.” As I stood alone in the room while Benny checked out other things, tears welled. After spending decades in the same home in Virginia before moving to Florida twelve years ago, this will be our third move in just over ten years. Just as one starts to feel like home, we move. Roots that use to go down deep have become loose and disheveled.
When I was younger I used to more eagerly welcome change. Benny got used to coming home to rearranged furniture and patiently listened to my latest ideas about paint colors or another wall I wanted to knock down to make our home more roomy. How many times did my elementary aged kids help me with a wallpaper project when Dad was out of town? I still have a couple of the wood shelves Josh made as a pre-teen during my “country” decorating phase when visits to the craft store were weekly happenings. Even little changes like new bathroom towels perked things up — until a helpful little one grabbed one to clean up vomit or sop a puddle of grape juice from the table.
As I age, I find change less inviting. Remember my ceiling fan post? It’s coming down in a day or two to make the 30 minute drive with me where it, too, will have a new home.
My tears were unexpected. God has graciously grown my faith for this move. In fact, Sunday morning I shared a testimony with Redeemer Church (the reason for our move) about the amazing work He has done in my heart over the past year. I know this move is God’s will and I’m eager to get going into this new season in our family’s life.
So why was I crying?
A season is ending for real. While the church is just over a year old, I’ve remained near friends. Although busyness has kept us from getting together regularly I know they’re “there.” Now they will be farther away and I will be building friendships with others; people I haven’t yet met that will take a long time to get to know. This past year while God’s timing for a move has been sought, I’ve shopped at the same grocery stores and frequented the same restaurants. I don’t have to pay close attention to where I’m going because the roads are familiar. Large and mature trees greet me each day when I turn into the driveway, as if to say, “Welcome back.”
But as recently as a few days ago I got all turned around trying to find our new house.
Embracing change can be hard. Are you experiencing unplanned changes in your life? A lay off? Unexpected pregnancy? Financial challenges? Unsettling or perplexing issues with a friend? Another year without the person of your dreams? A child that seems suddenly disinterested in spiritual things?
Change happens. And when it does it can remind us that God never changes. He is always faithful. Always constant. Always near. Always in control.
Last night I was comforted by the truth that where I live isn’t nearly as important as who I live with. The place that holds my furniture and displays framed pictures of those I love is just drywall and stucco. Nothing more. But wherever I go and whatever street I live on will be just that: a temporary place to call home.
Whatever changes you’re facing, will you join me in asking God to remind us that the Unchanging One is with us here and there? Through surprise blessings and unwanted challenges? When tears come unexpectedly for reasons we don’t understand? In seasons when we’re full of faith one day and tempted to discouragement the next?
Later this week my new house will be full of boxes that hold decades of Benny’s and my life in them. We will slowly unpack everything and put pictures on the walls. And he’ll install my ceiling fan. I’m thinking that a year or two from now, if I’m still blogging, I will tell you that Mallard Landings Way is starting to become home.
Thought it all, He will be there. Unchanging. Forever faithful. Always good.